A fear of mutual destruction should stop global powers from attacking each other and prompting World War III, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during a public phone-in.
“The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the international arena that are highly dangerous for modern civilization,” Putin said during his annual question and answer session with Russian citizens.
“The threat of mutual destruction has always restrained participants of the international arena, prevented leading military powers from making hasty moves, and compelled participants to respect each other,” he added.
Critics say the event, being held days before Russia hosts the soccer World Cup, is a stage-managed piece of theatre designed to let Russians let off steam and fleetingly feel as if they can influence a bureaucratic top-down system. Putin and his aides say it is an indispensable tool to gauge public sentiment and learn about people’s real problems.